When two people who march to the beat of their own drums get together, guess what happens?
They begin to make one-of-a-kind, show stopping furniture pieces that cause people to stop in their tracks. When’s the last time you stopped to admire a clock?
And that’s not all. Kim and Steve Prokopowich’s sustainable furniture respects the environment, making a table look like it just organically grew out of your living room. Their workshops hold the deep-seated belief that we can all be makers.
Kim took some time away from her creative force to talk about the value of a walk with a dog and why her furniture gets better with age.
How does your furniture-making story begin?
We’ve been doing it since Steve and I have been together. The inspirations of our pieces are things we want to add to our own home. After we had kids I made a clock because I wanted something with big numbers on it.
To make sure you knew when happy hour was? We get it.
We made a choice of an artfully authentic lifestyle. We were living it privately and we decided to go ahead with doing what we love to do. We want people to experience our furniture, love it and use it. We want the pieces to function in their lifestyle so that its something that flows with what they already have and what they need. It’s been an awesome adventure.
And people can pretend to be you for a day through your workshops.
We do cutting board workshops and the clock workshops to open up the makers world to people and reconnect them with the making process. We can be so disconnected from what the process involves and how much time is involved. This can help to bring the appreciation for pieces back. It’s cool to see their pride and to see them take that experience and reconnect it with the other handmakers. We might see a $6 hat at Walmart, but if someone handknits it, it takes hours and you can see its true value.
What about the people who are shop class dropouts?
There’s that quote: “If you say you can’t, you’re right and if you say you can, you’re right.” As we get older, we lose the sense of adventure and we gain this fear of not being able to do it perfectly. People talk themselves out of their abilities. Everyone who has done our workshops have left with something beautiful.
We have to drop our perfectionism.
Our style is a little bit raw. It’s not perfect. It’s that Wabi-Sabi look. We love that, especially if you have a lifestyle where you use your pieces. Even if our pieces have a lot of wear and tear, it adds to the story rather than subtracts from its perfection.
How does sustainability fit into your model?
For our finishing of wood, we get it from small mills that we know. There’s no clear-cutting and we only use domestic. They come from Ontario and you can see nature’s beauty when you watch its transformation in a piece. It’s pretty awe-inspiring. The material we use to finish our products is a mixture of waxes and sugars and oils. It’s applied in layers. It’s ecologically approved through European standards, which are usually superior to Canadian ones. If something should happen to the table, you can spot fix it. We try to think ahead in terms of the longevity of pieces.
Do you have a way to stay on track, creativity wise?
After we meet with someone, we usually take our dog for a walk. We never design on the spot. We reflect on what the person said and get a sense of their style. They call it imagination walking when you aren’t forcing your mind to come up with ideas. I embrace that. It is a great way to think and move.
Do any Ikea pieces exist in your home? C’mon, you can tell us.
For sure. I buy their napkins!
Whether you want to make your own or you want to invest in a specialty piece of furniture, Studio 50 is about the pieces you’ll have forever.
Take that, diamonds.
Check ‘em out here.